Professor Stuart Somerville, PhD

  • Professor of Practice
  • Institute of Business, Industry and Leadership
  • Enterprise and Business Development
  • Initiative for Leadership and Sustainability
  • Social Science
Professor Stuart Somerville, PhD


Stuart describes himself as a pracademic with extensive academic work applied throughout his career to challenging real world settings including conflict zones, natural disasters and blue-chip businesses adapting to new environments.

His career path has had a number of wonderful twists and turns that have brought colour and joy to the adventure.  Having joined the Navy in 1984, he moved away from the military to work with other agencies in 1992 seeing operational tours in Northern Ireland (2x), Bosnia, East and West Africa and the Far East to name but a few.  In 2001 he went back briefly to take responsibility for providing ‘unique’ re-supply solutions for UK Submarines deployed to the Middle East.  Tours of Iraq followed engaged in local population influence operations seeking to develop local national and military engagement in Southern Iraq; the successes and failures of this period shaped much of his thinking in the subsequent years.  This was followed by operations in the Horn of Africa in 2007. From 2008 to 2010 he was involved in influence operations in Afghanistan including developing local nation employment as an influence tool in the Southern Sector.  His involvement in Afghanistan was concluded by an unusual role for someone with his background, Commanding elements of the support functions including the casualty pathway from the frontline to Selly Oak.  In 2011, he transitioned into the civilian world holding firstly a role on the customer side as Director Operational Support for the UK Submarine Force at HMNB Clyde, followed by roles as Head of Delivery and Future Programmes Director.  In 2017 he took a role as the Major Programmes Director with a broad portfolio spanning Civil Nuclear, Emergency Services and Major Infrastructure markets before taking on his current role as Strategy Director looking at market development and new markets segments.

Qualifications and memberships

Chartered Director

Fellow of the Institute of Directors

Chartered Manager

Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute

Academic and research interests

He had the honour and thrill of working with the brilliant minds on his PhD which focused on behavioural dynamics with a lens on high performance cultures in complex and critical environments; he separately read an MSc focused on team coaching.  He is currently supervising research dedicated to high performance team behaviours in highly adaptive collaborative environments and work on the future economy through a behavioural lens.  His previous work has looked at cultural change in counter insurgency environments (influence methods and practises) and team cultural change models. He is the owner and lead Director of a non-for-profit business focusing on high performance cultures in the third sector. 

Recent external roles

Strategy Director 

Major Programmes Director 

Future Programmes Director